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Stop writing lists!

Have you ever set yourself some goals only to find that after a while, rather than energised and inspired you end up feeling demotivated and stressed?

In a podcast, I recently heard psychologist Professor Daniel Kahneman describe the human mind to be ‘very good at finding routes in open spaces’ but ‘terrible’ at using lists. This got me thinking, is there a better way I could set goals which was not limited like long, boring to-do lists.

Then I discovered journey maps, a mykagami tool that inspires me to create a clear visualisation of the path ahead that will bring me closer to my vision. By creating a path of things I must accomplish, I can maintain a sense of direction and progression to keep me motivated.

I chose to create my journey map to span over the next 4 years, with multiple paths for wealth, my studies, bucket list ideas and fitness. Each path is then filled out with my chosen ‘tasks’ in chronological order, where they wait for me to ‘mark as complete’ so I can go through the satisfying experience of watching my goals turn to green. The idea behind is that I can see how all these tasks will come together to achieve my vision in 4 years’ time.

There are no rules or restrictions as to how you choose to design and edit your journey map. You have full control over the headings and timeframes, and the goals or activities can be as descriptive as you like with flexibility to make any adjustments to your journey over time. The most important thing is that you can see where you are going and how you plan on getting there.

I feel, we often tend to get caught up looking ahead to the future all the time, constantly thinking about ‘the next thing’. This is only emphasised in our increasingly chaotic world where many achievements go unnoticed and a there is a diminished sense of accomplishment. There should be a greater focus on appreciating how we got to where we are.

In my experience, this is something I have begun to recognise. The small milestones I passed to get me into university were so easily forgotten in just a few months. The journey map reminds me of my hard work and accomplishments that give me more motivation and satisfaction to continue my progression without the feeling of being lost and confused.

In addition to this, there’s nothing I dread more than being engulfed by that feeling of disappointment when facing a setback. It can be so difficult to muster up the motivation to keep going, especially if your goal is still far away. The feeling of failure can give you a narrow perception of your life where it becomes easy to doubt yourself and become pessimistic. By embracing my overall journey, one failure does not need to make me think that it’s all over. It does not undermine everything I have achieved in my journey. The key is to maintain a clear vision and a route to how you aim to get there. This same experience cannot be achieved from merely crossing off tasks on a list or a mind map, before never thinking about it ever again.

In a world that feels so incredibly fast-paced, I recommend stopping for a moment to design your own journey map. Visualise the route you need to take to turn that dream into a reality. Record and acknowledge your achievements and watch yourself progress as you edge closer to your personal vision.

mykagami’s journey maps could be the open-space alternative to lists that our brains we're quietly crying out for.


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